This article covers the IT administration steps to get your educational institution set up for remote learning using Microsoft Teams.
Easily set up Teams
Here are the two things you need to do to get up and running with Teams:
1. Allow users to create teams
By default, everyone can create Microsoft 365 groups and Teams, but this ability may not always be appropriate.
For example, some schools may want to restrict students from creating Teams without supervision. Microsoft 365 group and team creation can be restricted to certain security groups.
For higher education institutions, we recommend allowing everyone, including students, to create teams for classes, research, group projects, and study groups.
For a walk-through of how to create Teams, see Create a class team in Microsoft Teams.
2. Configure user experiences using policies
Teams policies control the capabilities available for specific users or groups. Policies can define who should be allowed to use private chat, private calling, meeting scheduling, content types that can be shared, and more.
Higher education staff, educators, and students can use the default (global) policies. You can adjust policies to add more functionality to Teams, including translation capabilities and automatic meeting transcription.
Primary-secondary school students may need restricted capabilities. It's recommended that student policy changes be made to the 'Global (Org-wide default)' policy.
Primary-secondary school staff and educators should be assigned policies that grant key capabilities, like allowing private chat and meeting scheduling. Assign these policies in bulk to your staff and educators.
For meeting policies assigned to any users, we recommend setting the Who can bypass the lobby setting to Everyone in your organization. This will ensure that non-authenticated users must be admitted from the lobby before they can join Teams meetings.
For more information, see Manage meeting policies in Teams.
Create class teams for secure classroom use
Microsoft Teams for Education offers specific team types for educational use. The Class team type is designed for classroom use and comes with specific features that support classroom needs including:
- OneNote classroom notebook.
- Class Materials folder for securing read-only content for students.
- Insights to provide real-time data regarding student's engagement, assignments, and well-being for each classroom.
- Early educator access to set up the class before students are added.
- The ability to mute disruptive students and other special permissions.
Class teams can be created through:
We'll step through various options to help you choose the right deployment path that best fits your needs.
Automatic team creation using SDS
School Data Sync (SDS) reads the data from an institution's system of record, like a Student Information System (SIS) or Learning Management system (LMS).
SDS can import data from any system of record and has built-in connectors to many SIS vendors.
Benefits of SDS
Considerations for SDS
SDS creates teams in two steps:
- SDS creates a Microsoft 365 group in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).
- SDS automatically turns that group into a team.
The second step of creating teams is optional in SDS. An admin may not want to automatically create teams depending on deployment time and the number of unused teams that may result. Instead, see the Educator-led team creation method.
Get started with SDS
To get started, go to School Data Sync (SDS) and contact https://aka.ms/sdssupport for free deployment assistance.
Educator-led team creation from Microsoft 365 class groups
Educator-led team creation makes it easy for educators to create the classes they need.
This approach allows you to either use SDS to create groups for each class (recommended) or use Graph API to create them on your own.
After class groups are prepared, educators can convert their groups into teams:
- Select the Teams tab in Teams.
- At the top of the client, select the Suggested classes icon.
Benefits of educator-led team creation
- Classes are prepared and suggested but not created unless the educator intends to use them.
- For institutions with more than 500,000 teams, this method reduces the number of unnecessary teams.
- SDS benefits.
- Graph API benefits.
- Gives educators control to which classes get created.
- Doesn't require integration with SDS.
Considerations for educator-led team creation
- Not fully automated and requires some educator action.
- Educators who don't have permission to create teams can still create teams from existing groups.
- Graph API requires a high level of technical expertise, time to create and run the script, and time to fix any issues.
Get started with educator-led team creation
To get started with the SDS method, go to School Data Sync (SDS) and contact https://aka.ms/sdssupport for free deployment assistance.
- You'll need to turn the automatic team creation toggle off in your SDS profile.
- You can use a combination of automatic and educator-led team creation for class teams by using two SDS profiles.
To use the Graph API method, see Graph API and Create a class team.
PowerShell script using Graph APIs
With PowerShell, you can write a script to create teams and channels, and configure settings automatically.
This method requires the admin to first create the group, add educators and students, and then create the team.
You can also use the Microsoft Graph API to create, configure, clone, and archive teams.
Benefits of PowerShell scripts
Considerations for PowerShell scripts
- Requires a high level of technical expertise and time to create and run the script and fix any issues when creating class groups.
- No built-in error handling or retry logic.
- Membership changes aren't synced with SIS.
Class teams require hidden group membership so only educators and students within the class can see the members of that class. To create an Microsoft 365 class group, see Create a class team to meet the privacy requirements.
Manual team creation
Users can tailor their Teams experience by having the ability to create their own teams.
Depending on a user's permissions, they can:
It’s best to have educators add their students to the team to ensure the students get access and are notified that they’ve been added.
Benefits of manual team creation
- Gives educators full control of class creation.
- Class teams are created immediately.
Considerations for manual team creation
- Requires educator action and time.
- Student membership isn't synced with SIS and requires manual management.
- Students will gain immediate access to class teams.
Recommended best practices
Early access to class teams
Early Access Class Teams allows educators access to their class teams before their students can view it. Educators will have time to set up, add files, and get organized before granting access to their students.
When they're ready for students to access the team, they can activate their class.
How do I create class teams that allow educators early access to set up a team before admitting students?
Teams created from groups (through SDS, educator-led or Graph API) automatically create early access teams by default.
To create your own early access teams using Graph API, you’ll need to create a class and create the team from a group.
How do I check if a class is activated?
In the team resource type, view the property isMembershipLimitedToOwners, to see if a class is activated.
Use the Get Team API to query the
isMembershipLimitedToOwners property for a specific class. If the team is activated, it will return a value of false. If the team hasn't been activated, it will return a value of true.
How do I activate a class for an educator?
Use the Update Team API, and set the
isMembershipLimitedToOwners property to false to activate the team on your educator’s behalf. After a team is activated, it can't be reversed.
Create staff teams for staff communication and collaboration
Staff type teams are for education administrators and staff to share information and work together on institute-wide initiatives.
Education administrators can add staff to the team with the team creation wizard, by adding members after the team is created, or by sharing a join code or link to the team.
Teams meeting scenarios
Collaborative meetings for virtual classes
Microsoft Teams meetings support up to 250 concurrent attendees, including the ability to have audio, video, content sharing, whiteboards, and shared notes.
Meetings can be:
District/University events or updates
Some meetings have a large audience and extra production needs. These meetings often have defined presenters, producers, and moderated Q&A.
Teams supports these sessions using Microsoft Teams live events.
Live Events can be used for scenarios, such as:
- District or university-wide updates.
- Leadership addresses.
- Instructions for large classes or student groups.
- Extending to your community.
Learn about conducting live sessions at:
For a generic overview of transitioning to remote learning, start here
If you're an IT admin, educator, student, or guardian, these resources may help you use Teams: